Manchester United will kickstart their 2023/24 Premier League campaign on Monday evening against Wolves and Erik ten Hag is missing several players.
The Reds will be aiming to improve upon their third-place finish in the Dutchman’s first season and a solid start to the campaign will be exactly what they need.
Ten Hag experienced a difficult start to life at Old Trafford this time last year, with back-to-back opening losses against Brighton and Brentford.
This time around, they will host a Wolves side that have recently changed their manager and will be vulnerable going into the season.
However, United are not in the strongest possible position either. There are multiple players out of action for the opening fixture.
New signing Rasmus Højlund will not be able to make his debut as he’s got a ‘small issue’ according to the manager.
“He had a small issue and he’s not on the levels where our players are in this moment so we have to train him,” he said. “Prognosis difficult always to say. We are confident and we are positive.”
When asked about if there is a potential return date for Højlund, Ten Hag said: “We are not in a rush. We know we are also without him, we have a strong team and the position is covered. We don’t rush.”
That will likely mean that Marcus Rashford starts through the middle, with Alejandro Garnacho or Jadon Sancho coming from the left, despite Ten Hag confirming on Friday afternoon that Anthony Martial is once again available for selection.
Meanwhile, the likes of Tyrell Malacia, Kobbie Mainoo and Amad Diallo have been ruled out of the opening fixture, with those injuries being slightly longer than Højlund and Dean Henderson, who will be out for slightly less than a month.
“Malacia’s will take some time, the same as Amad and Kobbie, they are impact injuries,” added Ten Hag. “All the others, like Henderson, Højlund are quite short notice but it will take a few weeks.”
It has also been reported that teenage midfielder Dan Gore could potentially be included in the matchday squad for the encounter following positive cameos throughout the summer.
United enjoyed a positive pre-season campaign despite a mix of wins and losses. The club were able to ease in both Mason Mount and Andre Onana instead of them playing their first minutes for the club in a competitive environment.
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